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September 13, 2008
We Received the following email. We are a supplier to the Dixon plant and have provided numerous process control improvements and trainings.
It is sad to see this occur.

Subject: St Marys Dixon Plant Shutdown



   By now most of you have probably heard the bad news that St Marys has announced the temporary closure of the Dixon Plant due to economic conditions. The word temporary could be misleading, a restarting of the plant is not likely to occur in the foreseeable future. We are now in the process of severing the employment of almost all of the our employees at Dixon.

    The rough timing is that the remaining 3 kilns will be shutdown in November/ Dec 08. The staffing will then be reduced to approximately 16 people to operate the Finish Mills and the Shipping Dept. The mills will run until Feb/ March 09, then the staffing will be reduced to 6 hourly people and myself to operate as a shipping terminal. I will remain in Dixon as a Terminal Manager and also be responsible for preserving the idled equipment, manage the plant properties, etc. I also expect to be involved and working with other St Marys shipping terminals.

   I want to thank all of you for your excellent work and support as primary vendors and contractors to the Dixon Plant over the years. When I returned to cement 8 years ago it didn't take very long to realize that the plant was in horrible condition. I thought I had made a career mistake and again, It wasn't long before Prairie sold the plant to Cemex followed by another quick sale to St Marys. Both of these sales generated a lot of critical improvements to the process equipment, along with much needed skills training for all of us in a very short period of time. I was fortunate enough to come through all this change with a very talented group of Supervisors and Maintenance staff.

     With excellent technical support and advice from our vendors, contractors and employees, we improved quickly.  I am very proud of the fact that the Dixon Plant soon became and continues to be one of the most reliable plants in the U.S. We were able to repeat and exceed our reliability goals for the past several years Our kilns and mills have consistently ran over 95% availability. The success that this plant has had is a direct reflection of our employees, vendors, and contractors.

   Unfortunately we just couldn't work hard enough or smart enough to overcome a depressed economy along with the inherited inefficiencies of a 50 year old multi kiln plant. I'm not sure what the future holds for Dixon, but I do know that we own 25 years worth of  cement grade stone and have identified another 100 years worth of stone nearby. When the economy eventually turns around, something will happen here again.

 Right now a lot of our administrative efforts are  focused on helping our employees find jobs. We have professional people helping with resumes, we are putting ads in area newspapers and networking with all of our different contacts to find good employers for good people. Please forward me any leads or info that could help us in this process.

    I promise you that anyone I recommend will be a person with a great attitude, an excellent safety and attendance record along with solid skill sets. Here is a copy of the ad that we are running in the area newspapers.



St Mary Cement in Dixon, IL is ceasing its manufacturing operations.  We have a talented and loyal workforce of approximately ninety people who are available for immediate employment.  There is a wide variety of skills and experience within our group, which include:


Accounting, Clerical, Mechanical & Electrical Maintenance, Quality Control, Mobile Equipment Operators & Mechanics, Safety, IT, Environmental, Supervisory, Management and Production positions.


Please contact our Human Resources Dept to provide a list of job opportunities for posting at our facility.  Telephone (815) 284-3357 or FAX (815) 284-3314.



Thanks everyone. Please forward this to any of your contacts and ask them to contact me directly for recommendations.


Paul E Biggerstaff

Maintenance Manager

St Marys Cement Inc.

Dixon Plant



Other news:
FLSmidth "the world's largest cement plant provider" has published the following outlook for cement plant utilization for the near future:
2007 = 90% as based on existing data
2008 = 86%
2009 = 82%
2010 = 76% (According to JP Morgan, this could be as low as 73%)